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WE call my parents’ house the “country retreat”. For decades it’s provided a haven, not far from the historic village of Cobbitty and the rural township of Camden, where the blocks are acreage and gardens are prize-winning.
And as the land east of these villages has changed hands from farmer to developer and houses have sprung like mushrooms across the landscape, the trip from the city has become an unpredictable grind.
On a good run it can take 50 minutes. On a bad day it’s two hours.
The fast trains will no doubt be a success but its residents who chose the semirural life that will pay the cost of the implementation of much needed infrastructure.That the land must be released to meet the needs of Sydney’s ballooning population is not the question.
It’s that the huge growth has occurred without any provision for how all these new residents are meant to get around.
What planet are planners and governments on then, when new suburbs spring up without any provision for the rail and road corridors essential to provide locals a good quality of life and the economy the means to keep moving?
Take Oran Park, for example, a few kilometres south of the Badgerys Creek airport site. In the past four years 3000 new dwellings have become home for 8000 residents.
Yet never was a major road or rail corridor set aside to transport its residents.
Fast trains will halve the travel time between some centres.Now planners need to tunnel a rail line underground to Oran Park at great expense to avoid knocking down brand new houses.
There’s no doubt that once the second airport is up and running major road and rail corridors like the M9 are essential to its success.
Yet the current proposed corridor of the M9 Orbital makes semirural residents who have chosen to escape the city pay for the mistakes and lack of foresight of successive governments and planners.
NIGHTMARE COMMUTES ARE AN EVERYDAY REALITYWORKERS from Campbelltown, Camden and Wollondilly are being forced to travel more than twice as far to get to their jobs than those living in inner Sydney.
More than 300,000 residents leave Western Sydney each day for work.
The 125,644 people living in Macarthur — one of the country’s fastest-growing local government areas — travel an average 25.8km to work.
Those living in Greater Western Sydney travel 18.1km while the rest of Sydney travels only 11.1km, according to the figures based on Census data.
“We need to get serious about job creation — and that means … strategies aimed at helping fuel more employment centres in Western Sydney closer to where the majority of Sydneysiders will live within the next 15 years,” Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue chairman Christopher Brown said.
Mr Brown said that the promised North-South Rail Link and Sydney Metro West would help — but only if links are extended to the southwest, otherwise people “will be left to spend hours every day stuck on the M5 or jumping from train to train”.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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